Configuration Management, Inc. is all about managing the business of IT. We are a leading provider of Configuration Management® services, and have been supporting critical IT initiatives for Fortune 500 companies for 20 years including the design, development, systems integration, testing and operational support of application development platforms and systems.

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Phone Interviews are the first screening process some employers use to separate the “men from the boys” with candidates. Like in any business, time is money, so companies use short phone interviews so they don’t waste their time (or yours) by bringing in every candidate that they think may or may not be qualified. If they can cut candidates before they even step in the building that will save them time and ultimately money. With that being said, that doesn’t mean you should take these interviews lightly. Your objective during this phone interview is to get your foot in the door, so you can get yourself into their company for a face-to-face interview.

While there are some companies that use phone interviews as an only means of interviewing candidates (usually for a telecommuting position); informal, screening phone interviews are what are being analyzed here.  Here are a few tips to get that official interview:

Be Prepared

This may seem obvious to some, but a lot of people take these phone calls too informally and just wing it. You should be just as prepared for this phone call, as you would be for a regular interview. That means researching the company, preparing your answers to commonly asked interview questions, make sure you understand the job description and your potential responsibilities, and have follow-up questions for the interviewer. If it seems like you aren’t prepared and not taking it seriously, then it doesn’t seem like you will be taking that job seriously.

Put yourself in the Right Environment

You don’t want to be talking on the phone during a phone interview while there is a lot of loud background noise like a sporting event, outside on a windy day, or while your kids are screaming. Driving in your car on an interview, or even being in a car, is a no-no as well because it muffles your voice. It is best to make sure you are in a quiet room by yourself with no distractions so you can focus and answer adequately. It is also recommended that you stand up, but do not pace back and forth, so that it projects your voice better and you’ll come across as a good communicator.

Treat it like any other Interview

This is the main theme of the article here. As mentioned early, these interviews shouldn’t be taken lightly, so there should be nothing different for this interview other than not seeing them in person and not having to wear a suit and tie. You still have to be professional, cordial, and articulate. If you have a phone interview scheduled from 1:00-1:15, make sure your schedule is cleared for that allotted time. Don’t take another call while on the phone, put them on hold, or hang up; because this is something you can’t do in an in-person interview. 

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CMI extends it’s social network by adding an account on Instagram—an extremely popular photo sharing/editing app. Please follow, like, and share our pictures to spread the word!


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A photo of CMI’s Instagram page.

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A Comparison of Popular Software Configuration Management Tools Used Today… In this article series, we will give an overview of the differences between popular SCM tools and how they stack up against each other, but before doing so we need to establish a vocabulary for comparing them.  Read More


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Comprehensive design and information enhancements demonstrate its continued commitment in helping enterprises solve their Configuration Management® process and staffing challenges.                                                  

Matawan, NJ, USA– August 6, 2013 – CMI, a leading Configuration Management® consulting innovator and IT staffing firm, today announced the launch of its new and improved website, www.cmi.com. The website is designed with fresh features, including: new, informative technical articles, videos and data sheets; an interactive IT Consulting Services “mind map”; improved user-friendly navigation for finding its new IT Consulting, Managed Services, Offshoring and Talent Acquisition services pages. 

“The primary objective of the improved CMI website features is to provide software-focused organizations with a central location for finding useful information on Configuration Management,® as well as CMI’s staffing and Enterprise Software ConfigurationManagement solutions,” said William Anderson, CMI’s Chairman and Founder.”

For additional insight into CMI consulting and staffing solutions, visit: the CMI Tech Corner. Follow us on: Twitter, on Facebook, YouTubeand on LinkedIn.

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 About Configuration Management, Inc.

CMI is a proven leader in IT consulting and talent acquisition services. Companies work with CMI because they have difficulty in finding staffing vendors that understand Configuration Management.® They face challenges delivering their software on time, efficiently and with minimum bugs.  They are in need of technical personnel to improve their software build automation, administration and integration of their configuration management tools that aid in their software delivery, as well as their release management and systems testing needs.  CMI has over two decades of implementing industry best practices to solve software development, testing and staffing challenges for Fortune 1000 customers and mid-sized companies.           

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For additional information, please contact:
For customers interested in learning more about CMI Solutions:
info@CMI.com
+1-800-550-5058 or write us: info@cmi.com

For more information (worldwide), press only:
Tom Molfetto, Director, Marketing & Public Relations
tom.molfetto@cmi.com
732-450-1100
 

Quick Links:
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©Copyright 2013 CMI, Inc. All rights reserved. 

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CMI is Certified by the Women Business Enterprise National Council as a WBE company

Matawan, NJ – July 26, 2013 - Configuration Management, Inc. is proud to announce that its certification  has been renewed by the Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) as a Woman (owned) Business Enterprise (WBE). The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), founded in 1997, is the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by women in the United States. WBENC, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit, partners with 14 Regional Partner Organizations to provide its world class standard of certification to women-owned businesses throughout the country. WBENC is also the nation’s leading advocate of women-owned businesses as suppliers to America’s corporations. For more information, please visit our Corporate Responsibility page or visit the Official WBENC website.

 

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CMI has partnered with the American Red Cross to assist coastal communities in our tri-state area impacted by this year’s unprecedented Superstorm Sandy.

 CMI, headquartered along the Jersey shore for the past 21 years, has established a deep connection to many of the area’s shore communities, many of whom are still feeling the pain caused by the results of Superstorm Sandy. That’s why CMI, through the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, has made a substantial donation in support of our recovering coastal community businesses. 

If you would like to join us in supporting the Red Cross Disaster Relief efforts, please consider pledging directly through the American Red Cross website: 

rdcrss.org/102ubrE

Check out the photos from our “CMI and the Red Cross” work session on our Facebook page!

 

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The natural goal of CM – comparing expected vs actual – also provides us a good way of categorizing the various CM related activities and gives us a simple, yet powerful way of looking those activities.

In general, a CM related activity will fall into one of the following categories:

1.      Activities that deal with expected.

2.      Activities that deal with actual.

3.      Activities that compare the two.  

These categories make it easier to map interdependencies, look for symmetries, and even identify what current activities are really not CM related.

The simplicity here is that there is that each comparison activity is precisely the end goal of CM, and that there is a very tight and necessary dependency between the three categories.   Each comparison requires ‘expected’ and ‘actual’ values that come from associated value(s) in the other categories.   Each activity in the ‘actual’ category should have a matching activity in the ‘expected’ category, and should feed a comparison activity.   The same is true for activities dealing with ‘expected’.

 Mapping this triangle out will reveal the unneeded or missing activities, as well as show where there are overly complex relationships.   It is often extremely helpful to look at the artifacts – the concrete and tangible data – that the activities produce.    This triangle also allows us to be able to articulate the importance of the artifacts by showing how they support the comparison.

The final, and critical, thing to do is to link each comparison activity to the business need that drives it.

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Team Culture: The key enabler of Continuous Integration
Uncovering the Value of Continuous Integration

What can your organization do to realize the benefits of CI?  Certainly, you will need to adopt automation to build, package, and deploy your software.  However, you will also need to promote a culture in your organization of intolerance for lurking defects. 

Your management team must learn to demand the behaviors that actually deliver value to your business.  Some behaviors tend to mask inevitable problems that will be even more expensive to address later.  An example of such behaviors is taking shortcuts to meet calendar deadlines.  Scrum calls these hidden details “technical debt”, because those hidden issues must be repaid eventually, generally with an accumulated interest the longer they are left to fester.  The entire organization must understand and “buy into” the mindset that software is not “done” until it’s “really done”, and promote practices that ensure that “really done” includes continually testing, detecting defect, and repairing them as the software is incrementally elaborated.

Your development team will need to learn practices where all change receives its due visibility, and no changes are delivered to the team with defects that could/should have been detected in an individual’s own workspace.  For teams practicing Scrum in its strictest sense, this means developing an expectation that no code will get committed to the repository without another team member inspecting the code to look for defects and potential maintenance issues— another tactic in reducing “technical debt”.

Teams larger than the Scrum-recommended size of 7 +/- 2 would do well to incorporate more formal methods to manage the source code base.  Formal Software Configuration Management (SCM) rigor doesn’t necessarily require red tape, bureaucracy, and delays, but it may be necessary to get some coaching for your team to practice good SCM efficiently.  Ensuring points of accountability and enforcing reasonable quality gates are essential to a high pass rate on your builds and to prevent the team’s wasting time repairing defects that should never have occurred in the first place.

The team must learn to place a high premium on testability, even requiring that the test cases be automated before committing the source code changes to the repository.  Testers—whether in a Scrum development team or in a separate organization— must learn not to perform repetitive features manually, but to automate them. 

CMI can help your organization undertake the transformation to radically shorten your time to market with enhanced product quality using Continuous Integration.  After your initial investment in your people, processes, and tools, you will recoup a recurring return on your investment for many development cycles to come.  Contact us now for further details.

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Enabling Continuous Integration Through Automation
Uncovering the Value of Continuous Integration

In Scrum, each Agile sprint of two to four weeks each is expected to result in in a potentially releasable product.  The product is potentially releasable because it has been fully regression tested in each sprint.  The product version at the end of the sprint may not be fully featured, but every feature will work.

“How is that possible,” you ask?  The answer is automation, lots of it, judiciously applied in a team culture with intolerance for defects lurking undetected and unrepaired in the code base. 

It’s the automation that captures the attention of the naïve, but it’s the judicious use of the automation in a relentless war against defects that’s delivering the much-ballyhooed value proposition of Continuous Integration.  Deploying Continuous Integration without team members’ passion for preventing the introduction of defects in the code base or for repairing them as soon as they can be detected is essentially indulgence in technology for technology’s own sake.

With that said, generous investments in automation are making Continuous Integration a smashing success in IT shops around the world.  Automation opportunities exist in making all of the following operations hands-free from start to finish: tagging, building, packaging, and deploying, testing, creation of test artifacts (defect reports), and email notification of team members.

In a successful Continuous Integration deployment, the stability of the code base is always known, and the potential release date is always imminent.

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The natural goal of CM – comparing expected vs actual – creates an implication about what sort of business activity Configuration Management and where it may best fit in an organization.

Before diving into this, it is critical to understand that there is a difference between “CM team” and “employees that perform CM activities”.   For example a developer will perform many CM activities in the course of normal development – such as searching through branches and checking code out/in – and yet not be a member of the CM team.    To be effective, the CM team’s primary function should be to define, establish, and enforce the organization’s CM related strategy, policies, and practices.   Although it is possible that the CM team only focuses on this and never actually touches any code/products, there is often a benefit to having the CM team perform specialized activities such as creating branches, or when there is a need for separation of control.

Because the CM team should be focusing on strategy, policies, and practices where that team fits into the overall organization is no small matter and has a very large influence.  The CM team will naturally acquire the mindset of its parent organization.   When it is a part of a development organization, it will become focused on tools (version control, build automation, etc).   In an operations type group it will focus on gate keeping.   As part of a service organization, it will focus on providing ‘billable’ services (builds, service calls, etc).   When in the QA organization it will attempt to focus on quality – even though this is not a specific goal of CM.  

The fundamental issue is one of balance:  CM activities provide support for many roles within the organization including development, QA, testing, and operations.   The CM team is at a disadvantage when it cannot interact equally with each role to find the balance that best supports the overall effort.

With this in mind, it is fairly clear that the CM team should be its own organization, on par with the development, QA, testing, etc. groups.   A good second choice would be for CM to be part of program management type organization (PMO) as there is a fair amount of synergy that can exist between the two.

Regardless of where the CM team fits into an organization, the day-to-day CM related activities should be performed in the most natural location and person for the task.